Sound Like Water

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Post by losthighway » Mon Mar 16, 2009 2:12 pm

I seem to remember Geoff Emerick talking about 'watery' effects in his book about recording the Beatles. I have a vague memory of side-chaining a compressor in a funny way, maybe a Leslie. I'll see if I can find it when I get home.

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Post by kdarr » Mon Mar 16, 2009 2:37 pm

When I think "water sound," my mind immediately brings up the keyboard sound on "No Quarter" and the vocal sound on "Planet Caravan," both of which are rotating speakers with lots of verb and not much high end.


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Post by ott0bot » Mon Mar 16, 2009 4:45 pm

yeah....chorus then reverb definatley gets that watery sound. if they mean smooth than the auto-tune suggestion might be right.

the other way i've found to get a weird watery effect is put some reverb on the track then use a parametric 7-band or so eq. Spike one of the bands around the mid range section and narrow the bandwith to as tight as it goes. Now sweep the frequency back and forth slowy to create your own phasing sound. It's much easier to control than a phaser and you can make it really subtle like backwards reverb and just add that little extra to your track. If you are using a DAW you can automate the the freq knob and adjust as needed....if to tape just make a few runs through it and then try it out.

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Post by nwxnw » Mon Mar 16, 2009 5:44 pm

Thanks for the outstanding suggestions. I will try them out and let you know the results!

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Post by Snarl 12/8 » Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:11 pm

What about using a rain stick as the control source on the sidechain of a gate? You'd need a wicked ass gate super-gate, me thinks, it doesn't seem like my dbx166 could handle it.
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Post by jesse_baccus » Sun Mar 22, 2009 10:33 am

dave watkins wrote: OR! get a waterproof indoor outdoor speaker, and a hydrophone, dump them in a bathtub or the ocean, and reamp them through that!

it doesn't get any wetter than that.
ha, i like this one! would probably achieve a more 'under' water sound, but good thinking!

what type of material is the project? what style vocal?

i have used envelope filters on "trip-hop" vocals to achieve a watery kind of sound... they have modulation controls, that when sent through a leslie can work brilliantly together. the envelope filter itself can achieve the water sound on its own, but also gives the signal a strange quality which i find displeasing, so i like to reamp it.

i forget the filter i used, it was a pedal that the bass player has, probably a digitech or something, but look around i'm sure you'll find something intriguing.

good luck!
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Post by getreel » Sun Mar 22, 2009 10:42 am

I think on "No quarter" that's actually a Maestro Phase Shifter. I used to have one and it gets that exact sound. It's the one with the 3 colored buttons and the speed ramps up and down as your change the switches. It was way cool! I should not have sold the one I had.

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Post by loganwexler » Sun Mar 22, 2009 3:53 pm

Snarl 12/8 wrote:What about using a rain stick as the control source on the sidechain of a gate? You'd need a wicked ass gate super-gate, me thinks, it doesn't seem like my dbx166 could handle it.

that is really something special. I would really love to hear someone (myself) do that.

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Re: Sound Like Water

Post by Zeppelin4Life » Wed Mar 25, 2009 8:49 pm

nwxnw wrote:I have a request to process background vocals to "sound like water." Interesting request. Any thoughts?
almost always the 'water' sound means a flanger. It typically yields a very dreamy sound, especially with a chorus. Think

-the keyboards on 'no quarter' (thats the classic example)
-the intro guitars on Dream Theater's 'Pull me under'.
-Listen to the guitars on Rush's 'Digital Man'

definitely 'underwater' sounding flangers/phasers
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Post by syntax » Thu Mar 26, 2009 12:34 pm

I like the backing vocal "oos" and "ahhs" on the chorus of Pink Floyd's "Time" on DSOTM. These vocals were run through a "Frequency Translator."

see 8:57 ... PL&index=4

For info on the cryptic "Frequency Translator" see Gearslutz threads: ... lator.html

A phaser or flanger will approximate this, but if you have Logic, you might try the Ring Shifter plugin set to frequency shift.
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Post by thesimulacre » Thu Mar 26, 2009 4:22 pm

I accidentally made almost perfect water sounds in a frenzy of "raw material" recording a couple of years ago. I even labeled it, but cannot remember if it was modulated delay or delayed modulation. I do know that a certain extreme of settings (probably time) water sounds just started bubbling out of my speakers. I'm pretty sure it was all done inside my DAW, FWIW.

This narrows it down to maybe 8 parameters, depending on what you use to delay and what you use to modulate. Whether that modulation was a chorus, flanger, of phaser... I cannot recall.

Starting fresh, the first thing I would try is using a vocoder to combine the vox with a really clear water sound, as I think was mentioned. Question is, should the water carry the voice or vice-versa?

Good luck.

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